The Biden Administration Is Not Out of Hot Water Just Yet Over Afghanistan

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Posted: Sep 03, 2021 5:30 PM
The Biden Administration Is Not Out of Hot Water Just Yet Over Afghanistan

Source: State Department Photo by Ron Przysucha

Members of the Biden administration remain in hot water over the catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan. Calls demanding that President Joe Biden resign came pouring in, especially after 13 U.S. service members died in Afghanistan due to a terrorist attack at the Kabul airport. One such House member who called on Biden to resign, Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC), on Thursday also sent a letter calling on Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley to resign.

The sternly worded letter calls to mind, with original emphasis, that Rice called on the president to resign as well. "President Biden told the American people just a few weeks ago that the ‘buck stops with him.’ I agree, and he should resign. But we all know that will not happen. Therefore, the question I wanted to ask in each of your briefings (before your urgent departure) was: When will you three resign?" He goes on to later ask in the letter to "Please do the honorable thing." 

Rice's letter also called out the administration in other memorable ways:

You twist yourselves into knots trying to put lipstick on a pig. You describe your last-minute emergency evacuation as a success. You wrap yourselves in the heroic acts of our soldiers, who were placed in harm’s way by you. In fact, it was an embarrassing debacle, and the injury and death suffered by our brave soldiers and thousands of Afghans was the direct result of your appalling lack of strategy and foresight.

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The President repeatedly stated that we had a strategy that considered all contingencies. If we had any strategy prior to the final two-week scramble, it is not discernible to me. And it clearly considered no contingencies.

Your incompetence resulted in the deaths of 13 American soldiers, thousands of Afghans, and injuries to thousands more. You have embarrassed the United States on a global scale. Our allies are legitimately concerned about the United States’ integrity, commitment, and capability. China and Russia are happy to fill the void. I am certain it will take decades for the United States to recover the international trust and stature this administration has squandered.

My constituents are appalled. One of the many problems the American people have with our government is that when there are massive failures such as this, especially ones that result in the death of Americans, there is no accountability. For example, the Veterans Administration debacle under President Obama’s watch that killed at least 40 veterans in Phoenix, Arizona. Nobody got fired. The lack of accountability among our Nation’s leaders should change now.

Andrew Solender with Forbes highlighted Rice's call for Biden to resign as noteworthy, pointing out that the congressman was one of 10 Republicans to vote in favor of impeachment articles against then President Donald Trump earlier this year.

Blinken gave remarks earlier on Friday afternoon, though he largely failed to give satisfactory responses about Americans being safely evacuated out of Afghanistan now that the troops have left.

The secretary has even come under the scrutiny of Democrats, as reported by CNN:

An ideologically diverse group of Democrats is pushing Secretary of State Antony Blinken to take specific steps toward helping thousands of individuals still seeking to leave Afghanistan, underscoring the widespread concern still lingering in Congress over the evacuation effort from the war-torn country.

In a letter provided to CNN, more than three dozen House Democrats -- ranging from some of the most liberal to some of the most moderate -- also want additional information about the more than 116,000 people who were evacuated from the country.

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The letter was led by Reps. Jason Crow of Colorado as well as three Democrats in some of the most competitive districts in the country -- Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Tom Malinowski and Andy Kim, both of New Jersey. But its signatories span the gamut -- from progressive leaders like Pramila Jayapal of Washington to moderate Blue Dog Democrats like Jim Cooper of Tennessee.
The pressure on the Biden administration comes as the White House has sought to move past the chaotic last few weeks in Afghanistan and pivot onto the domestic agenda. But the concerns from the Democratic lawmakers suggests that the issue won't be off the table.

Several Democrats have been very vocal in their criticism of Biden's handling of the withdrawal process and chaotic evacuation of Kabul, which, by the President's own admission, failed to get every American out of the country. In the letter, the Democrats call for a "breakdown of the more than 116,000 individuals evacuated," including how many were US citizens and how many were special visa holders.

Reagan reported last week that Reps. Andy Harris (R-MD) and Ralph Norman (R-SC) have planned to file articles of impeachment against Blinken.

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